A police department has urged residents to be on their guard over thefts and break-ins and avoid having to make home insurance claims after figures showed a spike in burglaries from garages, garden sheds and out-buildings.
Thieves often go for the out-buildings of a house, primarily because residents are careless about the value of the tools stored in them, Bedfordshire Police said.
However, equipment such as lawnmowers, power tools and quad bikes are expensive to replace if stolen.
The police also warned residents that their tools could be used against them, with burglars likely to use equipment from unlocked sheds or garages to enter their homes.
Residents should also keep items like ladders and tools out of reach from outside to avoid a break-in with their help.
Crime Reduction Officer, PC John Shiels, said: "Residents need to review their security, ensure side gates are locked, boundaries are in good order and shed and garages are secure."
The department also urged people to use good quality locks, pad locks or hasp and staple with padlocks for garages and sheds, and to check gates and fences for weak spots.
© Press Association 2010